We’ve had two summer Social A rides this summer. In July we did the Three Bears out of Orinda ending with lunch at Petra Café; in August we left Millbrae BART and toured Foster City and San Mateo before a delicious lunch at B Street & Vine.
On Saturday July 18 Andrew, Adrienne, and Amyel joined me on a leisurely jaunt around the Three Bears. My husband Roger would have joined us but he had the misfortune of falling off a rock terrace in the garden and injuring his leg! The Three Bears is usually considered a challenging ride and one not really suited for casual cycling, but I beg to differ. Almost any ride can be made a leisurely ride simply by slowing the pace, and that’s easy to do when you’re chatting up a storm. (Okay, it is helpful to have the right gearing too!) Group rides can turn into mini-competitions unless you set the right atmosphere—you’re out to enjoy the company as well as the ride. I’ve never been sure why this classic East Bay ride is called the Three Bears because there are more than three hills and there’s nothing “just right” about any of them. In any case we ended up mostly staying together until Amyel, excited about just having completed AIDS LifeCycle for the first time, had to bound up Papa Bear. The weather was perfect: not too hot, not too cold, just right! Afterwards we went to downtown Orinda for a delicious al fresco lunch at Petra Café, which serves Greek/Mediterranean cuisine. Doesn’t that veggie sampler plate look fab? I think all would agree that the ride was just hard enough too and it made savoring the food all the more enjoyable on a sunny day.
On Saturday August 22 we had a bigger turnout, seven of us: Roger and I, Sharon Lum, Dennis Nix and his friend Richard, David Goldsmith, and Doug Dexter. Both David and Doug are known for their turn of speed, but Doug was recovering from recent knee surgery and David, well, he just wanted to do an easy ride for once. The weather again cooperated and we were greeted with a gorgeous day on the Bay—sunny, mid 70s, and a slight breeze. This made riding along the Bay Trail especially enjoyable, taking in the crisp views of wetlands, planes landing at SFO, and Mt. Diablo in the distance. Riding along the Bay Trail is a great way to do a social ride. You’re mostly free of car traffic, you can comfortably ride abreast, everybody’s moving at a slow clip enjoying the scenery, and there are plenty of places to stop for a brief a respite, take photos, or just to sit quietly. Well, we didn’t do any of the latter but we did mosey, and there was a lot of conversation taking place. We got to explore the bike paths in Foster City before crossing over 101 to San Mateo for lunch. I thought B Street & Vine would have been emptier on a weekend but I was terribly wrong—it was near full and the back patio was being used for a baby birthday celebration. Also the building next door was being repainted, so B Street didn’t have any al fresco dining in front. But we lucked out when the host was able to seat all seven of us indoors immediately. The bruschetta plates were the hit of the day—B Street has a huge variety and they allow you to pick any four for your lunch plate. But I gave it a pass because I had to have their cream of artichoke soup: it gives Duarte’s Tavern’s—the gold standard—a run for the money. After a long lunch and gabfest we moseyed some more through suburban streets back to Millbrae where David’s true nature just had to shine as he took off down the street.
Our next Social A Ride will be Saturday, September 19, where we’ll tour the Contra Costa Canal Trail and the northern leg of the Iron Horse Trail on our way to 54 Mint Il Forno in Walnut Creek. See the Ride Calendar for the details!